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Former soldier is proud as punch'

PUBLISHED: 16:31 10 June 2009 | UPDATED: 16:49 25 August 2010

HONOURED: (from left to right) Councillor June Slaughter, Alf Courtnedge, Paul Harrison, Ian Hammerton, headteacher Wendy Greatorex and Erith and Thamesmead MP, David Evennett.

HONOURED: (from left to right) Councillor June Slaughter, Alf Courtnedge, Paul Harrison, Ian Hammerton, headteacher Wendy Greatorex and Erith and Thamesmead MP, David Evennett.

AN MP joined Normandy veterans to unveil a children s centre. David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, was one of the special guests at the opening of Normandy Children s Centre last Friday in Fairford Avenue, Barnehurst, on a site next to Norman

AN MP joined Normandy veterans to unveil a children's centre.

David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford, was one of the special guests at the opening of Normandy Children's Centre last Friday in Fairford Avenue, Barnehurst, on a site next to Normandy Primary School.

He was joined by members of Normandy Veterans Association, Branch 23.

The event coincided with the school's celebration of the 65th anniversary of D-Day, which included a live band, a petting zoo, face painting and a reception.

Paul Harrison, 88, of Station Road, Sidcup was given the unveiling duties and said: "It's an honour, I feel proud as punch."

Paul's salute to

fallen comrades

A NORMANDY veteran who could not attend the 65th commemoration of the D-Day landings wept for the memory of fallen soldiers.

Paul Harrison, 88, of Mantague Court, Sidcup, wept in the privacy of his flat as Rule Britannia was sung at the commemoration in Arromanches last Saturday.

It marked 65 years since the allies landed in Normandy, an offensive on June 6, 1944 to eventually end World War Two in Europe.

Mr Harrison landed at Sword Beach on D-Day plus one, attached to D-Platoon, 26 Company of the Royal Army Service Corps.

Unable to travel to Normandy due to poor health he said: "I watched every minute of the television coverage. I sat by myself and when Rule Britannia came on the tears started flowing and I didn't want to stop them. A lot of young men died on the beaches, it was the start of a long campaign and I just thought about those who never came back."

In 1944, deploying from the American ship Liberty down a Jacob's ladder thrown down the side of the ship, he jumped onto rafts loaded with lorries.

He was responsible for driving a supply lorry up the beach, vital to support the front line assault.

Last Saturday he watched with pride as the chairman of Normandy Veterans Association South East Branch (23), George Batts, spoke at a Commemorative service to honour those who died.

It marked a weekend of remembrance attended by US President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Prince Charles and French President Nicholas Sarkozy.

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